Relativity Media’s Self Defense Prompts Boycott Supporting Chen Guangcheng

Relativity Media could have apologized for filming in Linyi and cozying up to the same officials who are responsible for the detention, torture and slow starvation of blind activist Chen Guangcheng.  They could have issued a statement urging freedom for Chen. Instead, Relativity Media issued a statement defending its decision:

“From its founding, Relativity Media has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights and we would never knowingly do anything to undermine this commitment. We stand by that commitment and we are proud of our growing business relationships in China, through our partnership with Sky Land, its strategic alliance with Huaxia Film Distribution Company. As a company, we believe deeply that expanding trade and business ties with our counterparts in China and elsewhere can result in positive outcomes.”

Reggie Littlejohn, President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, criticized Relativity Media’s statement as “disingenuous.”  She stated, “Words are cheap.  Relativity Media should have backed up these words with actions. They say they “believe deeply” that their trade ties in China can “result in positive outcomes.”  What kind of positive outcomes?   Positive financial outcomes for the filmmakers?  If they truly are “a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights,” then why have they remained silent on the prolonged abuse of Chen Guangcheng? Why have they refused to use the leverage they’ve gained through their “strategic alliance” to demand Chen’s freedom?”

He Peirong, an activist who has made four attempts to enter Chen’s village and been beaten each time, stated in a widely quoted interview:

“I hope Relativity Media will learn more about the real Linyi, about Chen Guangcheng, and see that what is currently happening in Dongshigu village is what is really ‘amazing’,” she told the Associated Press “Especially at this time, when every day there are people trying to visit Chen Guangcheng, people who have been robbed and beaten, I express deep regret to see such remarks whitewashing the city of Linyi.”

Littlejohn commented:  “Relativity Media does not deny that officials in Linyi are responsible for the prolonged mistreatment of Chen Guangcheng. For Relativity Media to film in Linyi tells the Chinese people, either that the company is inexcusably ignorant of one of the world’s most notorious human rights abuses, or that it doesn’t care.  Their callous attitude has left us no alternative. For the sake of Chen Guangcheng, we now call for a worldwide boycott of ‘21 and Over.’”

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